SIM: Smart Irrigation from Soil Moisture Forecast using Satellite and Hydro Meteo Modelling

www.sim.polimi.it
Project presentation
SIM

  Coordinator 
Marco Mancini
Projects  Partner and Institution:
Marco Mancini Politecnico di Milano  Italy
Massimo Menenti Delft University of Technology  The Netherlands
Li Jia RADI-CAS China
Romualdo Romero University of the Balearic Islands  Spain
Josè A. Sobrino University of Valencia  Spain 
Stefania Meucci Modellistica e Monitoraggio Idrologico  Italy 
Raffaele Salerno Meteo Operations Italia – Centro Epson Meteo  Italy 
Giacomo Branca Università della Tuscia  Italy 
Key words: smart irrigation, soil moisture forecast, remote sensing, hydro-meteorological forecast
Abstract:

The work aims at developing an operational tool for real-time forecast of irrigation water requirements to support parsimonious water management in case of actual or forecasted drought period. The system will be a prototype version of a world wide web platform (smart device), that will support users in parsimonious irrigation water management from basin authority to single farm. In particular in water limited period: i) farmers to maintain soil moisture in an optimum value interval allowing water saving and reducing plant stress, ii) irrigation consortiums to manage the water among users, according to the actual and forecasted water need; iii) water authorities to manage at basin scale the water withdraw of reservoirs respect to the actual and forecasted water request, and quantitative meteorological forecast. The system combines satellite monitoring of soil moisture and of evaporative fluxes, quantitative meteorological forecast and detailed distributed hydrological modelling of soil water balance and crop water needs. It provides real-time and forecasted soil moisture behaviour at high spatial and temporal resolutions (from 10 m to 250 m, from 1 hour to daily) with forecast horizons from few up to thirty days. This compared to water stress thresholds defined for each specific crop and its growth stage will determine the correct timing of irrigation and the amount of water. Economic impacts at basin scale of the developed technology will be evaluated starting from single farm to larger irrigation districts considering not only the role of water and energy saved in financial terms based on the local cost of the water and crop production, but also the environmental benefit due to a parsimonious use of the water.
The proposed methodology will be applied in different case studies in Italy, in the Netherlands, in China and Spain, characterised by different climatic conditions, water availability, crop types and irrigation schemes. The proposed system, for its versatility, can be easily exported for applications to the other case studies worldwide. The presence of Chinese partner will help in demonstrating this.
Water authorities, farmers consortium and single farms will be involved for the validation of the product and the analysis of its economic impacts for the demonstration area.
The expected innovative tool will have impact both on the scientific community, as well as on operative farms and water authorities. These results will be guarantee from the work team, that represents a good compromise between research institutes and small enterprises which can implement advance research tools into an operative industrial product.

Project structure
sim1

 

Implementation

The research methodology is based on a multi-disciplinary approach that links together satellite data, ground measurements and numerical models all of them oriented to develop an operative forecast tool of water needs for irrigation. The tool will be applied in different case studies in Italy, in the Netherlands, in China and Spain which differ in climatic conditions, water volume availability, crop types and irrigation schemes and water distribution rules. The objectives stated above will be achieved through a number of interconnected and synergic activities, which are divided in work packages (WP), with their own deliverables and milestones.
WP1 will collect and analyse ground data relative to each of the five cases studies providing a homogeneous dataset of soil moisture and evapotranspiration, irrigation practice, crop type, meteorological forcing. WP2 will collect satellite data for each case study and retrieving vegetation parameters, land surface temperature and soil moisture that will be used as input and/or control data of the soil hydrological models implemented in WP3. The hydrological models here used present a high degree of innovation due to the use of satellite data for their parameterization, validation and control; principal still open problem in hydrology will be analysed. WP4 will provide quantitative meteorological forecast assessed with Limited Area models for each test sites comparing different methods of ground data assimilation and boundary conditions perturbations. The irrigation water need forecast will be assessed in WP5 where the hydrological and meteorological models will be coupled analysing common but still open problems dealing with temporal and spatial resolutions. The economic impact of forecast water need and the relatively parsimonious use of the water will be analysed and quantified in the WP6 through profitability indicators and cost analysis of water management. In the end, WP7 will deal with the operative tool implementation and with the interaction and promotion with the project end-users.

Outcome/deliverables
The main project output is an operational tool for real-time forecast of irrigation water requirements to promote parsimonious irrigation and a more accurate water management in case of actual or forecasted drought period, that will result in a mitigation of conflicts in water use among farmers, hydroelectric producers, environmental agencies, tourist activities. The tool will be a prototype version of a world wide web platform (smart device), that will support users in parsimonious irrigation water management from basin authority to single farm, coupling satellite monitoring of soil moisture and of evaporative fluxes, quantitative meteorological forecast and detailed distributed hydrological modelling of soil water balance and crop water needs.

sim2

References coordinator and  leaders of  each WP:

WP0: Coordination, leader: POLIMI (Marco Mancini)
WP1: Ground monitoring, leader: POLIMI (Marco Mancini), participants: UVES (Josè Sobrino), MMI (Stefania Meucci), TUD (Massimo Menenti), RADI-CAS (Li Jia), End-Users
WP2: Satellite data for hydrological models, leader: UVES (Josè Sobrino), participants: RADI-CAS (Li Jia), TUD (Massimo Menenti)
WP3: hydrological modelling of water-energy fluxes, leader: TUD (Massimo Menenti), participants: POLIMI (Marco Mancini), RADI-CAS (Li Jia)
WP4: Meteorological forecast, leader: UNI-BAL, participants: EPSON (Raffaele Salerno), participants: UNIBAL (Romualdo Romero)
WP5: soil moisture and evapotranspiration real time forecast for irrigation water needs, leader: POLIMI (Marco Mancini), participants: RADI-CA (Li Jia), TUD (Massimo Menenti)
WP6: Economic and environmental analysis, leader: UNITU (Giacomo Branca)
WP7: Product implementation, leader: MMI (Stefania Meucci), participants: EPSON (Raffaele Salerno), UNITU (Giacomo Branca), End-Users

Contact Point for  Communication/Dissemination activities:

POLIMI (Chiara Corbari)

Contact Point for Open Data/Open Access activities:

POLIMI (Chiara Corbari)

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